Japan, S. Korea to strengthen ties following North's attack
TOKYO, November 24 (RIA Novosti) - Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak agreed on Wednesday to strengthen cooperation in the wake of a military skirmish between the two Koreas, Kyodo news agency said.
"North Korea should halt actions that damage peace and stability in Northeast Asia, including its uranium enrichment projects. The unanimous actions of the international community through the UN are extremely important," Kan said.
Both leaders reiterated the necessity of close cooperation with the United States, while Kan also noted China as a useful ally.
North Korea opened artillery fire on the South's Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea at 14:34 local time (05:34 GMT) on Tuesday, killing at least two South Korean marines. Sixteen others were injured, along with three civilians. The South immediately fired back.
The North later accused South Korea of causing the incident.
The South Korean military was put on its highest non-war alert and President Lee Myung-bak said the North should be punished "through action" to prevent further provocation.
Western powers condemned the attack and warned against further escalation. Russia called on both Koreas to refrain from the use of force.
The attack is the second incident in the tense Yellow Sea border area this year. In March, a North Korean submarine was alleged to have torpedoed a South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, causing the loss of 46 lives.
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